Producer Akiva Goldsman reveals timeline and story details about I Am Legend 2, including the fact that it will follow the film’s alternate ending.
I Am Legend 2 will use the original movie’s alternate ending to bring Will Smith back after he died at the end of the original I Am Legend. The hit film, which was released in theaters in 2007, starred Will Smith as one of the last human survivors of a plague that turned people into monstrous nocturnal creatures called Darkseekers. While the end of the film originally featured Smith’s character sacrificing himself in order to save two more survivors and protect a potential cure for the virus, the alternate ending on the DVD release featured him realizing his experiments on the Darkseekers were causing them pain and forming a bond with the alpha, returning his mate and escaping to freedom.
Deadline recently sat down with mega-producer Akiva Goldsman to discuss his first-look deal with Warner Bros. Discovery. During their conversation, he revealed timeline and story details about the long-gestating I Am Legend 2, which is set to star Smith and Michael B. Jordan, including the fact that it will take place many years after the original. He also revealed that the sequel will hew closer to the original 1954 Richard Matheson novella that it is adapted from, meaning that it canonizes the “alternate ending as opposed to the released ending.” Read his full quote below:
I’m obsessed with The Last of Us, where we see the world just post-apocalypse but also after a 20-30-year lapse. You see how the earth reclaims the world, and there’s something beautiful in the question of, as man steps away from being the primary tenant, what happens? That will be especially visual in New York. I don’t know if they’ll climb up to the empire state building, but the possibilities are endless.
We trace back to the original Matheson book, and the alternate ending as opposed to the released ending in the original film. What Matheson was talking about was that man’s time on the planet as the dominant species had come to an end. That’s a really interesting thing we’re going to get to explore. There will be a little more fidelity to the original text.
It was already assumed that the alternate ending would take precedence considering the fact that Smith is returning to the role. However, this explicit confirmation reveals quite a bit about the direction the film will be taking. As Goldsman says, it sets the sequel up to be a much more honest adaptation of the original Matheson I Am Legend.
The alternate ending captures the theme of the novella, which is that humankind is no longer the dominant species and that any survivors lurk in the dark and become the monsters that the new generations of creatures will be scared of. The Darkseekers in the movie universe will likely remain much more zombie-esque than the novel’s original vampires. However, the new film can use that alternate ending to set up a much more thoughtful approach to the post-apocalypse.
The changes that the original film made from the source material reflected the filmmaking trends of the time, and especially what was expected from a blockbuster Will Smith movie. However, I Am Legend 2 taking on this new approach will help it fit in better with the more theme-forward horror material of recent years. While it likely won’t skimp on the action-packed mayhem, this will allow it to spend more time on its themes and characters rather than a solely plot-driven approach.